Beginning at 8:00, our family began hunting for matching socks and Easter dresses. We brushed hair and applied coconut oil. We buttoned and straightened and switched the boys' shirts because it turned out Bean's was longer. We curled and wiped and buckled. At 10:00 we went to church and were almost on time.
Throughout the chaos of entering the building and getting coats hung up, Abi began doing her trick, something we have come to call "Mommy-shopping." finding the nearest willing adult, she pours on the charm, taking a hand to be led (she knows the building like a book if she needs to, so it's not like she needs to be led) or even asking to be lifted. She smiles and asks, "Hello? How are you?" and people immediately fall in love. If we don't catch it, she'll make friends to the point that she bids me a cheerful farewell, and fully expects to go home with the new Mommy. This person, you see, is smiling and snuggling her, and has no intention of ever scolding her like the mean old Mommy she's just said goodbye to! This new Mommy won't make her go to bed or share her toys, surely. And since it's been a few months, it's obviously time to move on!
Sorry, kid, that's NOT how things are. All of our training warned us that this would happen. It's a classic part of the attachment process. As a result, we have been doing what we were instructed to do by the social workers and attachment therapists: nip the Mommy-shopping in the bud. We won't let people hold her or play with her, or hold her hand.
In a church full of extremely friendly, motherly middle-aged women, you have no idea how incredibly difficult this can be! I had to disengage her holding hands with at least four different people, scoop her up, and politely explain to them why they would have to wait to make friends. The fact that she's blind makes the problem ten times worse, as they try to smile and engage her from a distance, but when that doesn't work, they move in to touch her.
On a good note, though, church represented another milestone. It was the first time in months the whole family was there at the same time. During the fellowship hour after church, a time when traditionally Abi has had an absolute meltdown, either trying to squirm down and get away from us or merely flipping out and shrieking at being so overwhelmed, this time she sat calmly in my arms while I talked to people for ten minutes or so. I saw it as a huge improvement, even though she spent a good portion of the service pouting because we did not let her tickle Daddy when she wanted to. One step at a time!
This year, I found myself rejoicing more than usual in the triumph of Christ's resurrection, and even in His suffering. The fact that He knows what we're going through when life is tough and the days are each a thousand hours long strikes me as wonderfully comforting. As the spring comes slowly, day by day, so does our new normal. Each day brings us one day closer to finding our feet in this strange, beautiful, messy, breathtaking journey.